of a dynamic family dynasty that's captured america's attention for more than a half century. tributes poured in today for a towering figure in american politics. residents and visitors in hyannis port left flowers for senator kennedy near the family compound. a summer haven. now in grief along with the nation. >> regardless of what people thought about his political ideas, they are going to hurt. because they loss a great guy. >> reporter: at the family compound, a steady stream of family members. kennedy's children and wife vickie released a statement saying that we have lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives. and in the political realm, rivals and colleagues are remembering a fierce and influential senator. >> outpouring of love, gratitude, and fond memories to which we have all borne witness is a testament to the way the singular figure in american history touched so many lives. >> reporter: kennedy was a champion of causes in legislation that permeates nearly every facet of american life. from civil rights to equal pay and greatest passion, health care.